My son doesn’t need a lot. He’s 18 months, his list of needs includes clean diapers, warm clothes, and bananas. That kid is seriously bananas for bananas. He can’t tell me what he wants for Christmas, and he already has a ton of hand-me-down toys from his big sister.
So when it comes to Christmas shopping, I’m kind of at a loss. I know he loves Elmo and Daniel Tiger. I know he loves snuggling and touch-me books. So what can I give him that will get those little hands waving and elicit big, happy “oooo”s from him on Christmas? And what can I give him that we can afford? All toys on this list are under $25 at the time of posting.
1. Touch-and-Feel books
I love this book! Never Touch A Monster is a very different touch-and-feel book. Other books we’ve seen had lots of variations on fur and furry animals. This one has rubberized textures, so it doesn’t get dirty with repeated handling and wipes off easily. The different textures are more distinctive (as opposed to all soft and fuzzy in other books). This company also has Never Touch a Dinosaur in case your little one is a dinosaur fan.
2. Daniel Tiger Snuggle and Glow Toy
This toy kills two birds with one stone. It’s a snuggle plush toy, and it’s also a short nightlight. Daniel’s pal Tigey glows when activated and slowly fades out as the child falls asleep. Plus, it’s Daniel Tiger. We love Daniel Tiger.
3. Warm Jammies
Every year on Christmas Eve, my kids get to open a special Christmas Eve present. They always get a brand new, snuggly pair of jammies. It adds to the excitement, they get to open something early, and they are guaranteed to be wearing decent jammies for Christmas morning photos. (No holey sweats or butts hanging out of too-small nightgowns!) Now that I have one kid of each gender, I like buying as much gender-neutral clothing as possible, while still letting my girl have her Peppa Pig pink shirts. Jammies are a great place to go gender-neutral for hand-me-downs. Snowflakes are wonderfully gender neutral! To save extra money, a lot of stores have jammies on sale this time of year; check out your local department store for deals on cute jammies.
4. Disney’s newest release… last year
Your toddler wasn’t watching Disney’s hot new films last year, so they don’t care if their Christmas gift is a year or two old. Going for an older movie will save you some big bucks. I know kids this age should have limited screen time, but there’s no harm in cuddling up for some animated fun on a cold winter night every now and then.
5. A Simple Stuffed Animal
There are Elmos out there that laugh, talk, dance, go potty… you name it. Those are all fun, and if you find a deal on one, go for it. But there’s something about a simple, snuggly, portable stuffed animal that kids just love. It’s soft and easy to carry around, unlike the machine-filled toys. Find an animal or character your kid loves, and get a stuffie to match. My niece loves owls, and a simple stuffed owl is one of her favorite companions.
6. Light Up Shoes
Get your little walker excited about walking with light-up shoes. They may not squeal as the shoes come out of the box, but they’ll love stomping their little feet to get the shoes to light up. You can find inexpensive light-up shoes at stores like Wal-Mart and Payless, or you can order fancy light-up shoes online, too. Some of them even allow you to customize the color of the light to match your kid’s outfit. Cool!
7. Wooden Puzzles
Bright colors and simple shapes work well for kids this age. They are working on their motor skills, so fitting wooden shapes into a puzzle excites them. That, and banging them together. Be prepared for the banging. You can play the puzzle with them, telling them the shapes and colors. At this age, they are learning language quicker than we think, so using important, simple words is essential for proper language acquisition.
8. A Fun New Shirt
When money is tight like it is for us, our kids live in hand-me-downs and thrift store finds. It’s a special treat to get new clothes, so when I find room in the budget for something new, I like to get something soft and fuzzy. That sensation wears off on well-loved clothing, so it’s a special sensory treat. It’s especially fun when you find something that has their favorite character on it. This shirt is just too cute!
9. Fun Kid-friendly Dishes
Your little one is eating solids by now, and they are probably showing interest in the plates and silverware everyone else is using. Get them their own, durable set! You can find sets with their favorite characters, colors, animals… there are so many options!
10. Bath Bombs
My kid loves bath time. What makes it even more fun are bubbles and bath bombs. But not just any bombs are good for kids. Since toddlers don’t have a full tub of water, you want to use mini bombs. These bombs are designed for foot soaks… and kids baths! It’s fizzy, fun, and a special bath-time treat.
Bonus – Stocking Stuffer: Yogurt Melts
I’m not going to lie, my toddler eats candy sometimes. He’ll get a little chocolate in his stocking because he’s a sweet-tooth kind of kid, and Christmas is about celebrating and treats. But I don’t want my toddler eating tons of candy. Another sweet treat he loves are Yogurt Melts. They’re fruity and sweet, not a choking hazard, and little finger friendly. Sure, the package says “crawler,” but just because he’s walking doesn’t mean he likes the taste any less. They fill up a stocking… and his little mouth.
All of the images in this post (except the bath bomb picture) are affiliate links. But purchasing items through the links, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your help!